Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Herman Cain 'reassessing' his candidacy

will herman cain drop out
Herman Cain Source: HermanCain.com

In light of yet another woman coming forward and accusing Herman Cain of infidelity and a 13 year romantic extra-marital relationship, Cain is considering dropping out of the GOP race. Or to put it more politely, he is 'reassessing his candidacy."
CNN is citing a top campaign official as saying that they will determine whether or not he's dropping out when they see how these latest allegations affect the fund-raising. (My words, not theirs.)
According to the NY Times, Cain "said that he had not lost his enthusiasm to run, but suggested it was a distraction that could be difficult to recover from."
Cain has denied all allegations of the relationship (and of all the other sexual misconduct accusations). However, he did tell his staff Tuesday that the accuser Ginger White was "a friend and he helped her financially but that nothing inappropriate took place."
“It’s also taken a toll on my wife and family, as you would imagine,” Cain said in a call to the National Review where he broke the news.“For some people, you’re guilty until proven innocent. And so, the public will have to decide whether they believe her or whether they believe me. That’s why we’re going to give it time, to see what type of response we get from our supporters.”
Of course, we're now up to five different accusations or allegations of marital infidelity by Cain. What's that old saying? Where there's smoke there's fire? One accusation, maybe even two, would be suspect. But five? And especially when the fifth one is producing financial and phone records to prove the relationship? Reminds me of another old cliche, "caught red-handed."
But of course, the real question is who will benefit if Cain drops out? Who will get his supporters? You better believe the campaigns are all kicking it into high gear right now to come up with that strategy. If you look at the polls over the past 3 weeks, you will notice that Cain was declining at nearly the same rate as Newt Gingrich was rising. So it is quite conceivable that if Cain drops out, we'll see another Gingrich surge. But my gut doesn't agree with that. Gingrich already soared by attracting the people who were on the Cain bandwagon. They were not necessarily all that supportive or informed about Cain, and then when Gingrich started to look good, they jumped ship.
I think the real question is what was it about Cain that attracted people to him in the first place? Other than his 9-9-9 plan, he's not all that different from the other candidates, but brings a side of pizza. He was an anti-candidate if you will. He was exciting for not having the same style as the other suits on stage. I think that is what drew in his supporters. If his supporters are still looking for the big business smarts, they will go to Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman. Or if they are just bandwagon types, we'll see them go over to Gingrich because he's the exciting flavor of the month right now. If his supporters are jaded and burned out over the extra-marital affairs issues I think they will go over to anyone but Gingrich.
No matter who the supporters go to, we're talking about a completely different horse race in just a matter of days. Nationally, Cain is pulling in at 15%, and in Iowa he is in second place with 17.7% of the votes. Considering he's only 4-8% behind Gingrich in most polls, and just behind or nearly even with Romney in most cases, that 15% can really change everything. If Cain comes out and throws his weight behind a candidate, we'll see huge things happen fast. But if he withdraws and doesn't back another candidate, it may be a few weeks before things really materialize.
Only 5 weeks till Iowa, and 6 weeks till New Hampshire. Let the games really begin!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do the Iowa caucuses represent American voters?

Iowa caucus

It is hard for me to write about the influence Iowa has over the national elections without a great deal of bias. If Iowa did not insist on being the first state to hold a caucus and/or primary, our country would not be so detrimentally forced to be dependent on corn and ethanol. It is only because every single politician who ever had the slightest amount of ambition had to kowtow to the desires of Iowan voters that the American diet is stuffed full of corn, paid for by government subsidies, while we lament the plot of the farmers who forced the politicians to pay them the subsidies. No politician would dare go against Iowa. And in no way, shape, or form, does Iowa represent a diverse cross-section of America. In fact, the interests of Iowa very rarely are the same as any other state. And yet, presidential hopefuls will spend more time and money in this state than any other state overall.
With that in mind, let's take a look at how often the Iowa caucuses, both GOP and Democrat, have accurately picked the national nominees, and the eventual president.

Iowa Democrat Caucus Winners, with national nominees highlighted in blue, and the eventual presidential winners in italics
2008- Barack Obama 2004- John Kerry
2000- Al Gore
1996- incumbent Bill Clinton
1992- Tom Harkin
1988- Dick Gephardt
1984- Walter Mondale
1980- Jimmy Carter (incumbent but contested)
1976- "Uncommitted" 37%, Jimmy Carter 28%
1972- "Uncommitted" 36%, Edmund Muskie 36%

Iowa Republican Caucus Winners, with national nominees highlighted in red, and eventual presidential winners in italics
2008- Mike Huckabee
2004- incumbent George W. Bush
2000- George W. Bush
1996- Bob Dole
1992- incumbent George H.W. Bush
1988- Bob Dole
1984- incumbent Ronald Reagan
1980- George H.W. Bush
1976- Gerald Ford

Iowa managed to pick the national nominees eight times out of fifteen times. But only managed to be indicative of the next president twice. (I am not counting 1976 when more people chose to not commit rather than vote for Jimmy Carter.) In fact, it is interesting to note that they managed to repeatedly pick candidates (in both parties) that didn't just lose, but lost by significant numbers. Cases in point, Harkin, Mondale, Carter, Huckabee, Dole, Dole again, and anyone who ran against Ronald Reagan (1976 and 1980). And yet, in spite of this historical trend to be completely not representative of the nation as a whole, candidates continue to spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours trying to woo Iowa voters. Not to mention all the things that happen in off-years when hopefuls quietly vote in favor of everything Iowa wants, just to create some goodwill for the future. 
Does anyone else see a problem with this?  

Picking apart the effectiveness of Union Leader endorsements

New Hampshire State Flag, Source: Wikipedia

Each presidential primary the Union-Leader newspaper endorses a candidate. The 2012 GOP candidate they have selected is Newt Gingrich. But is the Union Leader effective in picking the winning candidates?

Their past endorsements with the New Hampshire winners in blue.

Union Leader Endorsements
2008- John McCain
2004- (incumbent year for George W. Bush)
2000- Steve Forbes
1996- Pat Buchanan
1992- Pat Buchanan
1988- Pete duPont
1984- (incumbent year for Ronald Reagan)
1980- Ronald Reagan
1976- Ronald Reagan
1972- John Ashbrook
1968- Richard Nixon

The Union Leader's pick only won 4 times out of 9. But how many times did the Union Leader endorsement pick the national nomination winner? (answers above in red) 3 times out of 9 (Nixon, Reagan, McCain). Or in other words, they lost more than they won.

Just for fun let's see how many times did the New Hampshire primary picked the national nominee?

New Hampshire Primary Winners - (names in red show the national GOP nominee)
2008- John McCain
2004- (incumbent year)
2000- George W. Bush
1996- Pat Buchanan
1992- (incumbent year)
1988- George H.W. Bush
1984- (incumbent year)
1980- Ronald Reagan
1976- Ronald Reagan
1972- Gerald Ford
1968- Richard Nixon

If we take out incumbent years New Hampshire was indicative of the national winner six out of 8 times. They were only wrong about Ford beating Reagan in 1976, and Buchanan in 96.

It is also interesting to note that the GOP New Hampshire primary picked the overall national winner five times out of eight. And the Union Leader? They managed to endorse the overall national winner two times out of nine.

In short, is the Union Leader effective in influencing the winner of the New Hampshire primary? Not really, with only 30%. And they are really not effective at influencing who the national GOP nominee will be. But it is significant that the voters of New Hampshire are frequently right about who the national nominee and the national winner will be!

In other words, Gingrich shouldn't be getting too excited about winning this endorsement.

SOURCE: Red State "The Union Leader's Endorsement Record"
And several different Wikipedia pages, and the author's own memory.

National, Iowa, and New Hampshire Polls for week ending Nov 28

Time to check out the new polls for the week. But first, let's review last week's polls, shall we?
In a nutshell, over the last 4 weeks we have significant improvement across the national polls for Gingrich, taking most of his points from Romney. Cain started high, dropped, and has come back up, while no one else has really made much of an impact. But four weeks ago Gingrich was trailing in fifth place. And Perry and Cain keep switching places back and forth.

For the week ending Nov 28, 2011-

Gingrich has officially overtaken Romney by 2.5% in the major races. The two of them are significantly ahead of Cain.
One poll that is not showing up in the header is the Pew Research Center poll, which last week had Romney ahead of Gingrich by 7%. If the PRC did a poll this week, the information isn't public enough to be reported on.
With the national data in mind, let's take a quick look at the Iowa Caucus poll data.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I read the news so you don't have to

Welcome to another edition of "I read the news, so you don't have to!" Thanksgiving weekend is a fairly slow political news weekend, while the candidates let their staffs get some sleep, and the candidates pose for family photos. Or if you are President Obama you can catch up on college basketball.

Categorized by candidate, here are a few headlines-

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich spent Thanksgiving defending his stance on immigration. Apparently the crazy old man actually thinks we should let families stay together. An ironic position for a Republican to take on the weekend we celebrate a bunch of Europeans immigrating to a new land for a better life. He told a group in immigrant heavy and friendly Florida, "I am not for amnesty for 11 million people. I’m actually not for amnesty for anyone. I’m not for a path to citizenship for any people who are out here illegally. But I am for a path to legality for those people whose ties run so deeply in America that it would truly be a tragedy to try and rip their family apart." (Source: CNN)
He also added, "I think the vast majority [of illegal immigrants] will go home and should go home and then should reapply. I do not think anybody should be eligible for citizenship. I am suggesting a certification of legality with no right to vote and no right to become an American citizen unless they go home and apply through the regular procedures back home and get in line behind everybody else who has obeyed the law and stayed back there." (Source: MSN)

Former mathematician, minister, radio talk show host, and pizza aficianado Herman "the Hermanator" Cain, was the subject of a profile piece by MSNBC but otherwise stayed out of the limelight. Warning- reading this piece gives away all the spoilers in Mr. Cain's autobiography. He's American, he's black, and he's (mostly) conservative.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann can be found attacking Gingrich on immigration. She called him <gasp> a "liberal" that supports amnesty for illegal aliens. She cited a letter, co-signed by Gingrich and 14 other conservatives and published in the Wall Street Journal in 2004, offering support for President George W. Bush’s proposal at the time for a guest-worker program. (For an updated point of view from Mr. Gingrich please see approximately 10 lines up.)
Because Mr. Gingrich has clearly changed (or do we consider this a more educated or clarified opinion?) his position on amnesty, I present him with this lovely golden flipflop award. Wear it proudly, Mr. Former Speaker.

Rick Santorum could not be found in any new national news stories. Sorry Mr. Santorum.

Rick Perry could be found in a few stories, but nothing that was actually interesting. The Des Moines Register did let us know that the Gov. Perry released a Thanksgiving web video. It is worth noting that Perry is trailing the front-runner (Gingrich this week) in Iowa by over 16 points, according to the latest polls.  And in case you were curious, in a national election, Obama would beat Perry by about 9%.

Jon Huntsman also failed to make the national news, but apparently he did speak to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Or as the Manchester Union Leader reported it the "New Hampshire House or Representatives." Maybe they were just confused. 

Texas Congressman Ron Paul was also not to be found making any national headlines this weekend. But since I have been criticized for not covering Mr. Paul enough, here's a few facts about him. According to polls conducted by reputable national organizations, he is currently polling at his highest ever in Iowa at 13% (that is 9% behind the front runner, and puts him in 4th place. In national polls he is bringing his 8%, which is 15.8% behind the front runner, and at 5th place. He's not faring much better in New Hampshire or South Carolina either. However, if you take polls conducted among Christian home-schoolers in Iowa, he's in first place. (No, seriously.)

Which brings us to former Governor Mitt Romney. Romney was found in headlines all over the place thanks to the unhappiness from his first TV spot. Now before you go calling me biased for Mitt, let's review a few things. I, like so many others, absolutely agree that his TV spot was wrong, and he took Obama's quote on the economy completely out of context. I'm a little disappointed in straight arrow Mitt for that one. So let's see how his team is spinning and defending this foul ball.
In Slate.com we read, " The Romney campaign could have cared less."We want to engage the president," explained Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom in the spin room. "We look at him as our rival. It's all deliberate; it was all very intentional..." Romney adviser Ron Kaufman, an RNC committee member and longtime operative, simply said that the ad "worked."
Politico quoted Romney campaign strategist Stuart Stevens as saying, "It is now my goal for every ad we make to so upset the White House that they will force [White House Press Secretary Jay Carney] to go out with his light saber and do his thing." He also pointed out that Democrats have been more than willing to target his candidate in harsh terms. “These guys have attacked Romney in one form or another hundreds — yes, hundreds — of times over just the last few weeks,” Stevens said. “Everyone from multi-millionaire investment banker and brother to Ari, Rahm, to Wesley Clark to the legions of interns they have tweeting away as if they are trying to write Moby Dick by tweet every week.
The Washington Post story title even read, "Romney ad misleads its way to desired result." 
I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in the Romney camp for intentionally misleading anyone (even if this ad only ran in a small media buy in New Hampshire). Isn't it just a little too soon for the smoke screens and mirrors? I expected a cleaner campaign from you, Governor. I get why you did it, I just wish you hadn't.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who won the GOP National Security Debate last night?

GOP National Security Debate, Photo Source: NY Times (linked)

I read the news, so you don't have to!

So who won the GOP contenders National Security Debate as hosted by CNN? Let's do a quick recap of what the major media outlets are saying! (And in some cases what the different reporters at each outlet are saying.)

Washington Post's Stephen Stromberg - "Romney and Gingrich won. Romney because he is still the putative frontrunner and the likely nominee, and he did not mess up tonight. Gingrich because he held his own in the spotlight, unlike some of the previous anti-Romneys in this primary campaign. Otherwise, Perry still looked tired, Bachmann still sounded kooky, Huntsman was still too moderate, Ron Paul was still Ron Paul, and Cain still gave no sense he belonged on stage, even among this cast of characters."

Washington Post's Jonathon Bernstein - "I don’t think Gingrich has any plausible chance of winning the nomination... Beyond that, I agree with what seemed to be the Twitter consensus during the debate that Mitt Romney wasn’t doing especially well. He didn’t offer much to convince reluctant Republicans to resign themselves to him, but he didn’t do much to hurt himself, either. Given that he’s well in the lead, that’s probably an acceptable enough outcome for him. I do think that Perry continues to improve."

Washington Post's  Jennifer Rubin- "Both Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Jon Huntsman were predictably buffoonish, calling for pullout from Afghanistan, cuts in the military and other positions far to the left of the Obama administration. To sum up, then, the winners tonight: Romney, Bachmann, Romney, AEI and Heritage, and Wolf Blitzer. The losers: Cain, Huntsman, Paul. Potential problems: Gingrich on immigration."

Todd Graham for CNN - "Knowing your arguments and facts is one way to gain credibility. Mitt Romney fattened his credibility bank account at the expense of Rick Perry, who supported a no fly zone over Syria."
"on Huntsman made a similar deposit when he stated that sanctions on Iran would not work since "the Chinese aren't going to play ball and the Russians aren't going to play ball," and Iran has already decided to go nuclear."
"Another way to maintain credibility is to cite proof for your arguments. Michele Bachmann has said things in previous debates (President Obama wants Medicare to collapse) and in last night's debate (suggesting that the CIA cannot interrogate terrorist suspects any longer because the ACLU is in charge) that were not very credible. These frequent ATM withdrawals hurt Bachmann because a lack of believability spills over."
"Bachmann called Pakistan "too nuclear to fail," and chastised Perry for being na├»ve when he said he would not give Pakistan one penny until it proved it had America's best interests in mind."  (her naivety accusation was truly a highlight of the evening - in my humble opinion)
"Ron Paul is an enigma. He can provide such thoughtful answers at one time and later interject completely unsubstantiated statements."
"Answering questions with non-answers simply isn't credible. For example, Herman Cain twice last night reached into a very old bag of tricks to answer questions with the standard "I'd consult the experts" line."
"Finally, to save credibility, you should be prepared to defend your position when giving a potentially unpopular answer. Newt Gingrich had two answers that the conservative wing of his party might not like, but he defended them well."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GOP Race Depicted as a Horse Race

Go check out Slate.com's really unique and fun animation of the GOP race literally interpreted as a horse race!

Romney in the News

A quick look at the different news articles on Mitt Romney today from across the largest news outlets.

Huffington Post: Things aren't going well for Mitt Romney

Washington Post: In Boston, Mitt Romney 'evolved' in Mormon leadership, some churchwomen say

CNN: Romney names possible running mate

NY Times: Romney Take Obama Out of Context Again
(noteworthy, this is the only 2012 election story to run at the top of the page on this website)

Wall Street Journal: Romney Hits Obama With First Ad

MSNBC: Romney's first TV ad hits Obama (and is out of context)

The Romney TV ad making headlines-

Monday, November 21, 2011

GOP 2012 Presidential Primary Polls, week of November 21

GOP 2012 presidential primary polls
(click on images to enlarge)

Comparing this week's polls to last week's polls almost requires a degree in understanding polls and how even Real Clear Politics manipulates data to make things more interesting.

For starters, RCP doesn't keep the polling outlets in the same order every week, and doesn't fully explain the changes. Last week the big focus was on the CBS News numbers that showed Cain making significant gains. It is unclear if this week CBS just didn't do a poll, or if RCP just left their data out. This week the polls in the spotlight are the ones showing major improvements for Gingrich.

So just for fun, let's focus on the CNN polls over the past few weeks.

Put into this perspective over the past 4 weeks we actually see Gingrich has made significant gains, taking most of his points from Romney. Cain started high, dropped, and has come back up, while no one else has really made much of an impact. But four weeks ago Gingrich was trailing in fifth place. Just goes to show that this race really isn't close to fixing in on a winner yet.

For another interesting comparison, look at both the graph and at the numbers to watch how Cain and Perry switch places in perfect tandem. One rises, the other falls. They need to stop going after the front runner, and go after each other. If one of them could firmly take the other one's supporters, either one of them could be a real threat to Romney and Gingrich at the front.

But that's just my completely unscientific read on the whole thing. And of course, everything will change again tomorrow after the next debate.

Source: Real Clear Politics and their awesome polls

Mike Huckabee tells conservatives to prepare to back Mitt Romney

Former Governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, Source: Arkansas Times

Mike Huckabee tells conservatives to prepare to back Mitt Romney and thousands of evangelical preachers suddenly yelled out, "Oh God save us from this terrible day!"
Former Governor Huckabee was asked Sunday by 77WABC New York "Investigative Radio" host Aaron Klein to comment on whether the tea party will sit out the 2012 election if former Massachusetts Gov. Romney is the Republican nominee, Huckabee responded with the following:
It would be real tragic if they stayed out because Mitt Romney may not be their first choice, but Mitt Romney every day of the week and twice on Sunday is gonna to be a much more effective president for issues that they care about than Barack Obama. And I think sometimes there is this anxiety within the Republican Party of who is the perfect candidate. The answer is: there isn't one. And so, what you find is you have to decide who can survive the process. And whoever that is-- and if it's Mitt Romney, then I think Republicans and conservatives and tea party need to get behind him and say, 'You may not be our first choice, but between you and Obama, I'll vote forty times to help get you elected.'
The anti-Romney pundits seem to be slowly admitting he's their man. Last week, the uber-conservative Ann Coulter even said in a column for Townhall Nov. 16, "Everyone knows the nominee is going to be Romney... That's not so bad if you think the most important issues in this election are defeating Obama and repealing Obamacare."

When should primary voters start focusing on voting for the person who can defeat Obama over the person who has the platform they want represented? Unfortunately, we can't all have it both ways. In my humble opinion, all conservatives need to be watching out for Ron Paul supporters. Ardent and loyal as they may be, if they insist on sticking with their man even after he loses in the primaries, they risk re-electing Obama with their protest "the candidate isn't conservative enough' votes. 

11 states that will determine everything?

Jefferson Memorial, Source: E. McBride

For some reason this headline makes me want to follow it up with "one ring to rule them all!"

According to the Washington Post blog "The Fix," there are 11 states with the bulk of the control to swing Congress red or blue. (Even if they did title the blog post 10 states, they mentioned 11!)

1. Florida: It all comes down to their redistricting, and partisan gerrymandering. Republicans think they will be able to add two GOP-leaning seats on top of their 19-to-6 advantage in the state’s delegation. But the Democrats could gain back 5 or 6 seats – as many as five or six, according to their estimates. It all comes down to the courts!
2. California: The nation’s "biggest state" (WaPo's words, not mine) has only seen one congressional seat change hands in the past decade, and but the lack of change is about to change. At least three GOP-held seats are likely to go Democratic in the newly reshuffled map crafted by the state’s new citizen’s redistricting commission. But with reshuffling, other seats go in play. There's a lot at stake here!
3. Illinois: Democrats really reshuffled the map here and could win three, four or even five new seats!
4. New York: Governor Cuomo is threatening to veto a partisan-drawn map, which complicates things and puts several seals up for grabs. Upstate districts are changing, and things are about to get competitive.
5. Arizona: And the Democrats are gaining again! Party politics are really changing the new mapping process, plus a few seats are not safe for incumbents.

What are the other 5, I mean 6, states? Read the Washington Post to find out. I'm not here to plagiarize.

Considering how much Congress effects the success of a new POTUS, it will be interesting in the days and months to come to see how the congressional shifting will balance against the next president. Does anyone think Ron Paul can actually work with a liberal House, or will we see 4 years of stalemate? Does Gingrich still have enough friends on the Hill to be effective? Does Herman Cain have any experience working with the House or Senate?

Just something to think about when picking Congressmen and a new President!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gingrich: Laws preventing child labor are 'truly stupid'

Newt Gingrich, Virginia
Newt Gingrich Source: www.newt.org

Before I get into discussing Newt Gingrich's points on child labor and education, I have to make another point. What I am about to discuss is an absolutely perfect example of why it is important to get your news from more than one source. To read just the CNN story on Mr. Gingrich's speech at Harvard, you would think that Mr. Gingrich is proposing we do away with all child labor laws, and employ poor kids. Talk about a very biased and negative slant. If you read the NY Times take on the speech, you'll actually discover that Mr. Gingrich has made a fascinating suggestion for ways to improve work ethics in schools (for all students, not just the poor ones), and he is trying to find a way to help students by making college more affordable. All the words put into bold are mine and mine alone- to prove the point about media bias. 
The CNN Version: 

Newt Gingrich proposed a plan Friday that would allow poor children to clean their schools for money, saying such a setup would both allow students to earn income and endow them with a strong work ethic.
Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the former House Speaker said his system would be an improvement on current child labor laws, which he called "truly stupid."
"It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in child laws which are truly stupid," Gingrich said. "Saying to people you shouldn't go to work before you're 14, 16. You're totally poor, you're in a school that's failing with a teacher that's failing."
Now, for the same exact speech as reported by the NY Times-
“You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine,” Mr. Gingrich said. “You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
Interesting, isn't it? Bias from the media can really change the tone of a story. The CNN makes him out to be all for child slave labor. The NY Times just presented the facts.
Now, for the rest of his speech-
He wants every state to open a work-study college where students work 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time in the summer and then graduate debt-free.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called Mr. Gingrich’s proposal “absurd.” “Who in their right mind would lay off janitors and replace them with disadvantaged children — who should be in school, and not cleaning schools,” Ms. Weingarten said. “And who would start backtracking on laws designed to halt the exploitation of children?”
Personally, I think this idea is phenomenal. I absolutely support it. Except, I wouldn't pay the children. I think all students at every school should have to pitch in and do the cleaning. Teach everyone about taking care of the school and public property. How many kids would stop scribbling on walls or in bathroom stalls if they knew it might be their turn tomorrow to go in and clean them?
And as for a work-study program to get through college- BRING IT ON! Absolutely! How very different would our economy be if students weren't graduating with more debt than they will even make in their first year's salary? And why should parents have to take out loans to put kids through college? First, make colleges more affordable. Second, give students the chance to earn their way through!
Newt just moved up in my personal estimations. Liberals will absolutely hate this idea. And it goes against everything Occupy Wall Street wants. But personally, I think it is brilliant!

Source: CNN "Gingrich: Laws preventing child labor are 'truly stupid' "

NY Times "From Gingrich, an Unconventional View of Education"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Foreign Policies

Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann Source: Candidate's website

“I will use absolutely everything in our arsenal against the Iranians, because they need to know that they should fear the United States... We want to be both feared and respected. Number one, you want respect. But when you’re respected you’re also feared.” Michele Bachmann's statements at a campaign event in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Michele Bachmann spoke about the key foreign policy issues of defending Israel and challenging Iranian influence in the Middle East — and declared that other countries ought to be afraid of the United States.
“That’s the problem today in foreign policy: You want the other nations to fear us,” Bachmann said, the Des Moines Register reports. “They don’t fear us today. They laugh at us. This is serious. The United States is being mocked at and laughed at. We’re the military super power of the world and we’re being mocked at and laughed at and being disrespected?”

Source: Des Moines Register, "Michele Bachmann: US should be 'feared' by the world"

Someone tries to say something bad about Romney (and fails)

Mitt Romney Virginia
Mitt Romney. Linked to source: Talking Points Memo

Talking Points Memo may have attempted to dig up some dirt on Mitt Romney. But the so-called dirt actually makes me like Mitt more. The well-documented story goes that Romney gave a job to a man who made a mistake, paid the price publicly for it, and made amends. Sure, it was a high-profile position for a major corporation. But does that really matter?
Is this even dirt? Or is it just trying to stir up trouble where trouble doesn't exist?
Personally, I admire the fact that Romney gave the man a second chance, and that he recognized top talent and put it in the right place. It should also be noted that Romney didn't act alone. A full board of directors unanimously voted the man into his position. But sure TPM, try to make it sound like Romney gives jobs to "scandal plagued" men. The guy made one mistake, the charges were dropped, he still paid the price, and from there went on to be a great businessman. Hardly dirt. 

Source: Talking Points Memo "How Mitt Romney Revived a Scandal-Plagued CEO's Career"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exactly what makes Herman Cain so great anyway?

Herman Cain Source: HermanCain.com

I've been thinking a lot about Herman Cain and what it is exactly that bothers me about him. And then today it hit me as I looked over the headlines.

Cain bets that he can stay a Republican front-runner without acting like one
Source: WashingtonPost.com

Herman Cain Cancels Interview After Making Unusual Requests
Source: Huffington Post

Herman Cain's Unconventional Approach
Source: WashingtonPost.com

Cain quick to play the blame game
Source: The Daily Republic

I don't trust him. He is too full of himself. He acts like he's better than everyone else- a little too much swagger if you will. It is almost as if he's running for president just to put another feather in his cap. "I'm so great, I should do this too. America will thank me for being so great!" is my impression of him. And exactly what has he done that is so great other than run one company (and I never liked their pizza much anyway)?

And let's not forget that horrible video featuring his campaign chief of staff, Mark Block.

A lot of people questioned the purpose of this ad. First of all, who does an ad featuring their chief of staff, who is a complete unknown nobody? Well, the answer to that is someone who is so cocky that they think they can pull it off. Mark Block's responses to the video only made me think he's just as full of himself as Cain in. But in the end, I did catch the unspoken message of the ad- Cain is setting himself apart from Romney specifically, and the other candidates. By sending a gritty, darker, less wholesome image than the whitewashed, squeaky clean candidates, he emerges as the alternative. From a marketing standpoint, it is fairly brilliant. But I hated it. I don't want the gritty alternative. I want the bright, shining ensign to the nations to follow, and not the guy who leaves me with questions about his motives and morals.(I am absolutely referring to the sex scandal allegations that have suddenly quieted.) Now, to figure out who that bright, shining ensign is!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Newt Gingrich and Freddie Mac

Newt Gingrich, Source: Unknown
Newt Gingrich is making new headlines today as his relationship and salary from Freddie Mac become more public. Gingrich was a "historian" and consultant to questionable mortgage giant and paid to the tune of a monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 (a total of $1.6 million) between May 1999 until 2008. Freddie Mac says Gingrich “did not do any lobbying” and only provided counsel on public policy issues to FM's chief lobbyist Mitchell Delk.
Gingrich says that he warned that the subprime mortgage practices that Freddie and its counterpart, Fannie, were helping support were leading to a housing bubble.(Gingrich did not work for Fannie at any time.) He said that he favored expanding housing in a responsible way, and not through the methods Fannie and Freddie took throughout the 2000s.
The Bloomberg story points out that in the Nov 9 CNBC debate, Gingrich had said he only made about $300,000 from his relationship with Freddie. He has since asked his staff to make his record public and find out for him. Gingrich's initial contract with Freddie Mac started in 1999, shortly after he resigned both the Speakership and his seat in Congress.
Liberals and Gingrich antagonists immediately began complaining on Twitter about the relationship. Apparently it is okay that Rahm Emanuel was on the Freddie board of directors during the scandal, but it isn't okay that Gingrich consulted them!

Source: Talking Points Memo "Housing 'Historian' Gingrich Paid 1.6M by Freddie Mac"
MSNBC: Gingrich Can't Say How Much He Netted from Freddie Consulting